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At the end of Week 5

August 19, 2010

I’ve been so absorbed with reading, assignment jotting and forum posting that I’ve only just realised Week 5 has passed by with nary a mention on my blog.  So now, while I briefly emerge from a seemingly endless loop of online papers, I hope I have something sensible to say about them!

Further Thoughts on Topic 2 – The Role of the Teacher Librarian

This week was largely spent continuing with an exploration of the research surrounding teacher librarianship.  Many studies conducted overseas (particularly in the USA and Canada) have succeeded in showing links between functional school libraries (known as media centres in some US states) and improved student learning outcomes.  The need for some Australian research was identified in 2003’s Lonsdale report.  In 2005 & 2006 Lyn Hay published the results of her local replication of an US study which examined student perceptions of school libraries.  It is interesting to note that despite some differences between library systems, many of the Australian findings were very similar to the earlier US ones.  Also worthy of note is that in areas such as help with assignments, the Australian students rated their school libraries significantly higher than did their US counterparts.

Wading even further into the readings, I almost couldn’t bear to read Herring’s 2oo5 article, The end of the teacher-librarian.  Great title!  I thought the way he dealt with ICTs as ‘threats’ and ‘opportunities’ confronting, but ultimately empowering.  Teacher librarianship is beginning to look like a battle for hearts and minds as well as funds.  This paper is a timely reminder that TLs must embrace the things that many find the most challenging.  Without mastering and discovering new possibilities for ICTs ourselves, what hope is there that we will be effective learning faciltators for our students, as we march into a ‘brave new information world’ together?  We must be able to show school communities that we can add profound value to a huge variety of learning experiences.  In particular, the almost infinite potential world of the internet as a research tool will never be fully opened up to often overwhelmed students without an effective TL as gatekeeper and co-pilot. 


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